November 30, 2006
We did it, finally! Mill Woods United Church in Edmonton held a great celebratory service last Sunday morning to mark becoming an official Affirming Congregation. This is the first congregation to do so in 8 years in Alberta NorthWest Conference (including parts of BC and the territories), and only the second ever. Hopefully there will be more churches hoisting the rainbow banner over our steeples and store fronts. We have heard stories of teens whose lives were saved by seeing the rainbow sign on a church door. Suicide is the number one cause of death for young people who are struggling with their sexual identity, and after hearing the stories of what GLTB individuals have gone through, I know that there is no way they would have chosen to be so different and so shunned by society. It is like blaming lepers for their leprosy or hermaphrodites for being born with anatomical duplications. To hear these people talk about being ostrasized by their churches, condemned, alienated and hated, is to hear the voices of the outcasts and Samaritans that Jesus reached a hand of love to. We celebrated that they are a part of God's creation, that they are a part of our family, and that we together are in community to build a sanctuary for all. Our website is www.millwoodsunited.org if you are interested in hearing more.